When a man in one of my How to Support Your Wanderlust classes told us that he was interested in writing travel essays, I asked him what it took to be a successful writer of travel exposition.

Without hesitation he said, “You can’t be a good writer without being a good reader.” I’ve heard many other successful writers say the same thing.

On a road trip, I happened to hear John Tesh’s radio program. He had e-mail from a 15-year-old boy asking how to make it in the music business. Surprisingly, Tesh didn’t suggest more practice.

He said his best advice was to listen to great music everyday and study what other musicians do.

In a fascinating appearance on the OWN’s Master Class, Simon Cowell talked about his early days working in the music business. Cowell said he was a sponge soaking up the advice of those around him who were more experienced.

This advice seems so obvious to me that I’m always surprised to discover that everyone isn’t an enthusiastic student of success. When I ask participants in my Establish Yourself as an Expert seminars to name a favorite expert, I am often greeted by silence.

When I edit manuscripts, it is often apparent that the would-be writer is not an active reader.

Would-be entrepreneurs have never had a conversation with someone who is successfully self-employed about how they got started.

Years ago, Timothy Galway wrote The Inner Game of Tennis and cited studies that showed that players could noticeably improve their game by watching great players in action.

Galway suggested that our subconscious minds absorb useful information and details without our even being aware of it.

So where do you want to succeed? Study those who have done what you want to do.

Absorb the lessons of success, not failure.

Be a keen observer. Identify with excellence at every turn. It will make a huge difference in your ultimate results.

The amusing Quentin Crisp once noted that it’s no good complaining that you really wanted to be a ballet dancer if you continued to spend your life as a pig farmer.

C.S. Lewis said it a bit more elegantly: “Good things as well as bad are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire; if you want to get wet you must get into the water.

“If you want joy, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.

“They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very cente rof reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you ; if you are not, you will remain dry.”


One Response to “The Company You Keep”

  1. Rasheed Hooda

    I better finish reading the two biographies I am in the middle of. Then, I think I will find Famous Amos’ biography. He was always such a delight whenever I had the opportunity to serve him. Not to mention I always got a bag of cookies for tip.


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